Elderly couple's life savings stolen by 25-yo secretary

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by ml1209, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. ml1209

    ml1209 Active Member

    Jan 14, 2009
    What a shame. This couple owned a construction business and saved all their lives to retire. They hired a young woman to be their secretary, treated her like family, and it turns out she embezzled $367,000 from the business. The money is gone. Now the couple cannot retire.
    Link to video:
    Couple Loses Everything In Theft - Video - KPRC Houston
    Cleveland police officer under investigation > Eastex Advocate > News Archives > Houston Community Newspapers Online - News Around Town
    Cleveland police officer under investigation
    The owner of a Cut and Shoot construction business and his wife, both 81, will have to work “until we die” after a former employee stole $367,000 from the company, the owner said.
    The employee’s husband, an officer with the Cleveland Police Department in Liberty County, also is under investigation for crimes related to his wife’s embezzlement, an official said.
    Loretta Blankenship, 25, of Conroe, pleaded guilty Nov. 24 to first-degree felony aggregate theft in the 9th State District Court of Judge Fred Edwards, according to court records. She was sentenced to 20 years in prison and ordered to make full restitution to John and Ezetta Dueitt, owners of Cut and Shoot Inc.
    “With the money she stole from us and the money we paid her, it would take 21 years for her to pay it back,” John Dueitt said. “It took all our savings that we’d saved for 60 years.
    “It almost put me out of business.”

    Dueitt hired Blankenship in March 2006 to perform secretarial duties and cut checks to his company’s suppliers, he said. While he and his wife were supposed to sign each check, Blankenship learned how to forge Ezetta Dueitt’s signature.
    “She forged my wife’s name on the checks,” John Dueitt said, “then put them in her bank account. She had intercepted all the mail and phone calls.”
    Dueitt started noticing how difficult it was becoming to pay bills, but he attributed that to the rising cost of diesel fuel and the economy in general, he said.
    One day in June 2008, Blankenship went to lunch at noon, as she did every day at work, Dueitt said. The phone rang, and his wife picked up the phone.
    “It was my banker,” he said. “He was calling me to let me know we were way overdrawn.”
    The Dueitts soon fired Blankenship, and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office started building its case against her. She was arrested and released soon after on a $1,000 bond, Dueitt said.
    Loretta Blankenship was due to plead guilty Sept. 11 but abruptly withdrew her plea. After new allegations from another employer came to light, however, Edwards revoked her bond Oct. 29 and remanded her back to jail.
    According to court records, Blankenship’s employer at the time found nearly $1,000 in charges in July made on two different credit cards, which the employer didn’t make. The employer also told Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputies that a number of baseball cards were missing from a locked storage area.
    Cleveland Police Officer Bluford Blankenship, Loretta’s husband, is now under investigation by both the Cleveland and Conroe police departments for first-degree felony theft related to his possible involvement in his wife’s crimes, Cleveland Police Chief Mark Bradshaw said.
    Conroe police informed the Cleveland PD Dec. 3 of its investigation.
    “Once we received that information, Officer Blankenship was suspended with pay pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation,” Bradshaw said Friday.
    The Cleveland PD will conduct a “parallel investigation” with the Conroe Police Department since the crime occurred within the Conroe PD’s jurisdiction, Bradshaw said.
    Bluford Blankenship was placed on administrative leave instead of being suspended without pay, Bradshaw said, due to the Loudermill Act of 1985, which provides that most public employees are to be given a hearing before they are discharged. During that hearing, the employee is entitled to oral or written notice of the charges and is given the opportunity to present his or her side of the story.
    Blankenship has been a patrol officer with the Cleveland Police Department since 2007.
    George Renneburg, Loretta Blankenship’s attorney, said he didn’t know whether his client would be able to pay back any of the money she took from the Dueitts.
    “Restitution will be pretty damned tough in the pen,” he said.
    He believes Loretta Blankenship will be eligible for parole in about four years, depending on her conduct in prison.
    “I expect Loretta to be a decent inmate,” he said. “I thought she was a very likable person. I was disappointed to see her in that situation.”
    The Dueitts had “trusted her from one end to the other,” John Dueitt said.
    “We were planning on retiring this year,” he said. “Now, it looks like we’ll be working until we die.”

  2. 1rightguy

    1rightguy Active Member

    Mar 25, 2009
    Get a rope!
  3. DirtyD

    DirtyD Well-Known

    Sep 20, 2008
    And dont even bother investigating the husband... GUILTY! I have a hard time believing he didnt know and wasnt complicant in what was going on with that much money....
  4. Shorts

    Shorts TGT Addict TGT Supporter

    Mar 28, 2008

    This makes me so sad. There's no punishment strong enough to make up for the struggle these folks went through and will go through to live. When I hear about elderly being targeted I think of my grandparents and how if it were them...
  5. TxEMTP69

    TxEMTP69 TGT Addict TGT Supporter

    Feb 17, 2009
    I have no words for this kinda....
  6. ml1209

    ml1209 Active Member

    Jan 14, 2009
    The couple may have been lonely and childless, and saw the woman as the daughter they never had. Also, the fact her husband is a police officer also contributed to them letting their guard down.
  7. DCortez

    DCortez TGT Addict

    Jan 28, 2009
    Houston, Cy-Fair
    Is a shame. Hope the husband and wife team get what they have coming to them.

    Unfortunately, the elderly couple learned a hard lesson. Keep control of your checks, check your balances daily, require two signatures if you can't keep an eagle eye on things, and ask yourself why aren't you keeping an eagle eye on things.

    I know I'd be sick...
  8. TrailDust

    TrailDust TGT Addict

    Oct 29, 2009
    To quote Steely Dan in their song, King of the World: "Assassins, cons, and rapers, might as well die!!!"
  9. hkusp1

    hkusp1 TGT Addict TGT Supporter

    Mar 25, 2009
    Same crap happened to my dad but that hoebag And her husband got away with it. I heard a few years later she blew her house up trying to cook meth.
  10. SC-Texas

    SC-Texas Moderator Moderator

    Feb 7, 2009
    Houston, TX
    I hate to say this, but why are we convicting the husband without any proof?

    Hell, how many of you know what your wife or girlfriend is really doing?

    Do you know how easy it is to hide money?

    That said, 2006 to 2009, 100k a hear should be somewhat noticable, but maybe she told him that she was being paid for running their business? If she was such a good con, why do you think she wasn't conning the husband?

    ETA: i do beleive that she should be hanging from an Oak tree as a warning to any others

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